Saturday, April 20, 2019

Fury at the Crossroads, by Troy L. Wiggins

★★★★☆ A complex story in a unique setting

(Post-Apocalypse Fantasy) Furious Jackson wanders the ruins of a world where people destroyed their gods finding ways to do justice. In New Molen she finds an evil that needs to be driven away, but the more she learns about it, the more complicated it appears. And it’s very strong. (7,083 words; Time: 23m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 276, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2019.215 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The most striking thing about this story is that it appears to be high fantasy with an African-American culture. That is, it’s a secondary world—I'm pretty sure it's not meant to be the future of our world—but the people are clearly African Americans, and the technology level seems to be post-apocalyptic 21st-Century. (Traditional high fantasy is set in a secondary world with a medieval European culture.) That makes for an interesting setting, of which we get just the briefest taste here. I hope we’ll see more stories that explore this world.

Fury is an interesting character. She has some power due to her connection to Junebug—a surviving fragment of a shattered god—but much of her power simply comes from her commitment to justice in a world that has very little of it anymore. That's a nice touch.

It’s clear almost at once that something is very wrong with the New Molen people. You could imagine that their meanness comes from their dire circumstances, but it’s no surprise to learn that things are the other way around. That's a nice twist, albeit not that big a surprise.

As Junebug warns her, the conjureman holding Coreeane is too strong for her, but her commitment to justice saves her; he doesn’t want to destroy her—he wants to co opt her, confident that once she understands what really happened, she’ll finish the job for him.

Con: We never really get an idea how all of this is supposed to work. It’s very confusing that Fury has to actually eat Demijohn’s dead body, for example (not to mention gross). And sometimes Fury seems very weak (as when Okima’s people capture her) but at others she seems vastly powerful (as in her fight with Demijohn).

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Troy L. Wiggins Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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